Computing & ICT

Computing & ICT Department

HoD: Mr K McGuinness

Subjects Offered

Computer Science GCSE (OCR)
Computer Science A Level (OCR Linear)

Digital Technology (Multimedia) GCSE
Digital Technology A Level (CCEA Modular)

Computer technology continues to advance rapidly and impacts every area of our daily lives.

As consumers of this technology, we continually demand new, innovative hardware and software solutions and this causes a surge in demand for those with an understanding of Computer Science principles and concepts.

Studying Computer Science is not simply about preparing for life in a digital world.  Computational Thinking principles can impact our everyday lives and help us to solve complex problems.

Computing and ICT
Problems inspire those who seek to invent solutions and computers have been embedded into solutions for the most complex problems we have ever faced.

Invention and creativity are at the heart of this subject.  Computer Science not only encourages innovation; Computer Science teaches you how to think.


During Key Stage Three, pupils have 1 period of ICT per week and study the use of a range of applications packages such as: presentations, word processors, desktop publishers, game development software, animation software, electronic mail clients, databases, painting packages, drawing packages and internet browsers. The majority of class time is hands-on so that pupils build up their confidence in the use of computer systems.

In Year 8 pupils learn about the basics, such as ICT-terminology and online safety. As well as this they develop skills in practical use of PCs through experience in a range of applications. Once the basics have been covered we take a look at Scratch software to introduce a few fundamental concepts around problem solving.

In Year 9 we build on the basics covered in Year 8 and progress to look at more advanced software tools such as DeskTop Publishing and we consider some of the health and safety issues around PC use. Once this has been covered we take a look at basic graphics and stop-motion animation.

In Year 10 we finish off Key Stage 3 by building even further on the work of the previous two years and we also start to introduce some computational thinking skills alongside the ICT applications. Pupils in Year 10 spend time investigating software applications such as databases, presentations and game development.

At GCSE level, pupils have the choice of studying either GCSE Computer Science, following the OCR specification, or GCSE Digital Technology, following the CCEA specification. Both options allow practical experience of the use of computer systems in a range of innovative and exciting contexts.

GCSE Computer Science is an exciting qualification that seeks to provide a launch-pad for the study of Computer Science and the development of critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving skills. There are two modules and they are both assessed through a written examination. Class time is balanced between practical experience of programming concepts, and building an understanding of how computers function.

GCSE Digital Technology is a practical, skills-based course that offers pupils the opportunity to learn more about the multimedia technology that we use every day. The proficiency and understanding that the course develops is an excellent confidence boost for those who are keen to master digital technology in any area of life and work. Assessment in Digital Technology is in 3 parts. There are two written examinations and 1 practical task.

At A-Level, pupils have the choice of studying either Computer Science, following the OCR specification, or Digital Technology following the CCEA specification.

At its core, the Computer Science A Level course encourages invention and creativity. It helps pupils to develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand human and machine intelligence. This is achieved through the development of mathematical skills, embedded throughout the content of the three components, and computational thinking – one of the key principles in understanding how complex problems can be broken down to derive solutions. The course is assessed through two written examinations at the end of Year 14 and one Practical

programming project (i.e. it is a linear A Level). In the project pupils will use the skills and knowledge they have developed to solve a complex problem of their choice using a suitable programming language and the work they produce will contribute to 20% of their overall mark.

The A Level Digital Technology course provides a natural progression for those who have studied ICT or GCSE Digital Technology but is also of interest for those who wish to advance their ICT skills and knowledge in preparation for a workplace that is increasingly reliant on new technologies. This course is assessed across two years with two written examinations in Year 13, followed by a further two written examinations in Year 14. Pupils also complete a case study in Year 14 by compiling a portfolio showing evidence of the analysis, design, development, testing and evaluation of an application for a specified end user.

Other Subjects

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